Beachgoers have been left stunned today after a large shark was spotted swimming in the shallows of Pāpāmoa beach.

Pāpāmoa East resident Sarah Lewis was walking out of the exit of the Taylor Reserve with her daughter and a friend about 2pm when a passbyer told them a shark had been spotted metres away in the water.

They rushed down and managed to spot the marine creature in its fleeting visit.

She said it looked about 1.5 metres long and she thought it was a bronze whaler.

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She had seen them at the beach in the past but much further east.

The shark had been "really cool to see" and had "come right up" with a small crowd gathering to watch it, she said.

Lewis posted on local noticeboards to warn swimmers that it was in the area.

She also posted a video of the shark to Facebook, where she can be heard saying "they are usually in twos".